is not a phrase one hears every day. When was the last time you were thinking about things that make you happy and a clarinet made your top ten list? Even your top one hundred list for that matter. Or when did you last think about a clarinet when you were pondering those things for which you are grateful? Really, when have you thought about a clarinet at all?
Musically, clarinets are not glamorous instruments, in that they are lower-toned, alto-sounding and can be squawky. While they are an important part of an orchestra’s sound overall, typically they are not the instruments that get the solos or are featured in the performance. Not the high-pitched, airy sound of a flute. Not the pithy, plucky sound of a violin.
Recently, I pulled out from the closet my under-appreciated clarinet, where it has been stored for some time. Opened it up, put it together, and was struck by the beauty of the instrument. Silver on black, beautifully crafted. Put the reed in, blew a few notes, ran a scale. Then “squaaaawwwkkk.” Ah, yes. Time to practice breath control. And get a new reed. It felt good, though, holding the instrument again. Moving my fingers over the cool notes.
When I heard Franz Krommer’s A Concerto for Two Clarinets in E-flat major, Op. 91 on the radio a few months back, I was struck by the loveliness and optimism of the song. The clarinet finally gets its due with this one as it is performed by the Hungarian Nicolaus Esterhazy Sinfonia. A beautiful way to start the morning. An uplifting accompaniment on the commute to work or school.
In the era of worn out, post-Frozen, songs, I found a refreshing version of Let it Go featuring a clarinet. A second clarinet pipes into the melody for a lovely tangle of sound, and hits some really high notes. Not bad for an alto! Nice, very nice.
Let it go, clarinet, go! Can’t hold it back anymore . . . . 🙂